Detectives from the Washington State Patrol confirmed that excessive speed was the cause of a Nov. 29 collision involving state trooper Travis Beebe and two other vehicles.
In a press release distributed Jan. 30, the state patrol detailed the U.S. Highway 101 collision in which Beebe was attempted to overtake a speeding vehicle that had passed him in the opposite direction near Morse Creek. Skid marks and other evidence reveal that Beebe was traveling between 70-75 miles per hour when he lost control — about 25-30 miles per hour faster than the posted speed limit of 45.
Initial indications were that speed was likely a factor, state officials said. Detectives from WSP’s Major Accident Investigation Team spent about two months reviewing details of the collision and interviewed more than 15 third-party witnesses. Detectives found that witness reports supported the initial impressions.
“Even though we were fairly certain what happened, I asked (the investigation team) to make sure we fully understood everything,” Capt. Chris Old, commander of the State Patrol’s District 8, said.
“When a trooper is involved in a collision, it’s important that we understand any and all factors that might be in play," Old said. "In the end, this case is exactly what it first appeared to be.”
According to state patrol officials, investigators confirmed the presence of a speeding vehicle with a defective headlight that passed Beebe in the opposite direction and which had a significant head start.
Beebe made a safe U-turn, the state patrol said, and accelerated to 94 miles per hour in a straightaway while trying to catch up to the speeder.
Beebe had reduced his speed significantly as he approached Morse Creek but did not slow sufficiently to maintain control in the sweeping right hand corner, the state patrol said.
According to the state, Beebe entered the curve at between 70-75 miles per hour and was attempting to reduce speed. His vehicle began to rotate at about 55 miles per hour. He lost additional speed and was traveling at about 27 miles per hour when he struck the first of two other vehicles.
Beebe previously has accepted responsibility for the crash, receiving a four-day suspension, state officials said. He also has successfully completed 40 hours of driver retraining and a check-ride with an agency driving instructor.
Beebe is on patrol duty in WSP District 8, working in the Port Angeles area.